Credit: © whitestorm / Fotolia

Credit: © whitestorm / Fotolia

Vitamin C targets and kills cancer at the source

Vitamin C targets and kills cancer at the source, according to research from the University of Salford in Manchester in the United Kingdom.

Cancer continues to be on the rise. The National Cancer Institute estimated that in 2016, 1,685,210 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and 595,690 people will die from the disease.

The new research examines the efficacy of three natural substances, three experimental drugs, and one clinical drug in stopping the growth of cancer stem cells.

To simplify, the cancer stem cells are the mothers of the cancer cells that they create. They are considered the source of cancer.

The researchers measured the efficacy of seven substances: the clinical drug stiripentol, three experimental drugs (actinonin, FK866, and 2-DG), and three natural substances (caffeic acid phenyl ester (CAPE), silibinin, and ascorbic acid (vitamin C).)

After testing all the substances, the team found that vitamin C was 10 times more effective at killing cancer stem cells than the experimental drug 2-DG.

They also found the mechanisms behind vitamin C’s anti-cancer properties. It works by stopping glycolysis, which is when glucose is broken down and feeds cells.

Dr. Michael P. Lisanti, professor of translational medicine at the University of Salford said the following:

We have been looking at how to target cancer stem cells with a range of natural substances including silibinin (milk thistle) and CAPE, a honey-bee derivative, but by far the most exciting are the results with vitamin C. Vitamin C is cheap, natural, nontoxic and readily available so to have it as a potential weapon in the fight against cancer would be a significant step.”

This is further evidence that vitamin C and other nontoxic compounds may have a role to play in the fight against cancer,” says the study’s lead author.

Our results indicate it is a promising agent for clinical trials, and as an add-on to more conventional therapies, to prevent tumor recurrence, further disease progression, and metastasis,” Bonuccelli adds.

The study showing that vitamin C targets and kills cancer at the source was published in the journal Oncotarget.

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1. “Vitamin C Can Target and Kill Cancer Stem Cells, Study Shows.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, 13 Mar. 2017. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.
2. “NADH Autofluorescence, a New Metabolic Biomarker for Cancer Stem Cells: Identification of Vitamin C and CAPE as Natural Products Targeting.” Oncotarget. Impact Journals, 16 Feb. 2017. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.
3. “Cancer Statistics.” National Cancer Institute. National Cancer Institute, n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.

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